Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people seek psychotherapy or counseling?  Isn't it only for people who are weak or crazy?



People seek therapy or counseling for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. In addition, when coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. At Eastlake Community Counseling, we believe that seeking support when all other efforts have failed is a true sign of strength, not weakness.  We can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy or counseling are willing to take responsibility for their actions without blaming others, ready to work towards self-determined change and looking to create greater awareness in their lives.

 

What can I expect in a therapy session?



During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 45 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

 

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?



A number of benefits are possible when participating in therapy or counseling. Often it is helpful just to know that someone is there to listen and understand. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset in managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the challenges of daily life. The benefits you achieve from therapy/counseling depend on how actively you participate in the process and put into practice what you discover.

Some of the potential benefits of therapy include:



  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values

  • Developing skills for improving your relationships

  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

  • Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

  • Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures

  • Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you

  • Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy behavior patterns - breaking old behaviors and develop new ones

  • Discovering new ways to solve problems

  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

 

What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?



If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task in therapy will be to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clear, and during the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.


Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?



There is a confusing and widely varying array of insurance policies, and there are many that we do accept. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:



  • Do I have mental health benefits?

  • What is my deductible and has it been met?

  • What is my co-payment?

  • How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?

  • How much do I pay for an out-of-network provider?

  • Is my primary care physician's approval required?

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law strictly protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a few important exceptions to this rule.

Exceptions include:



  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult/elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.

  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.

  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist the client's cooperation in insuring his or her own safety. If the client does not cooperate, further measures may be taken without his or her permission in order to ensure his or her safety.

  • When ordered by a court. In the rare case that a court order is issued for therapy records and/or other information from therapy to be released, the therapist must comply. This is an unusual occurrence, and most often occurs when the client has made his or her own mental/emotional state an issue during a court proceeding,

 

 

© 2019 Eastlake Community Counseling, Jeff Palitz, MFT, Inc., Chula Vista, CA